Business Irish

Friday 15 December 2017

Quinn-backed Nualight restructures amid mounting losses

Dragons' Den star Eamonn Quinn is a Nualight director
Dragons' Den star Eamonn Quinn is a Nualight director
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Nualight, the Cork-based firm in which Dragons’ Den star Eamonn Quinn is a director and investor, has finalised a restructuring designed to place it on a firmer financial footing.

Newly-filed accounts for the business, which designs LED lighting used by supermarkets, show its turnover slumped 42pc to €14.2m in the 12 months to last March as it exited sales sectors.

It made a €6.2m loss compared to a €969,000 loss a year earlier.

The pre-exceptional loss in the last financial year was €4.6m compared to €3.1m in the 2015 financial year.

The company has accumulated losses of €39.3m.

“While turnover has decreased, the directors note that this is in line with expectations while the business is reorganised, with sales into some sectors discontinued,” the accounts note.

During the 2016 financial year, shareholders in Nualight advanced the company €3m, which was rolled into a €5.9m convertible loan note last summer. The company has raised about €25m from investors since it was founded in 2004.

Its backers include London-based Climate Change Capital, the ESB Novusmodus cleantech fund, as well as Eamonn Quinn’s father, Superquinn founder Feargal Quinn.

Nualight reached an agreement last summer to sell certain assets from Lumotech, its driver and motion detector business, to a California company, Fulham. That sale generated sufficient cash to enable Nualight to fully repay external borrowing facilities in its Netherlands business. The sale also left over additional cash that was reinvested in the group’s core business.

“The directors consider the performance of the Nualight Group to be unsatisfactory, although in line with expectations,” the recently-filed accounts note.

“A number of the key steps have been taken to reorganise the business during the year and some final steps were taken post year-end, including the sale of the Driver business,” they add. “This has created a simplified business which is focused on its key refrigeration lighting sector and a limited industrial lighting sector.”

Nualight’s customers include supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury and Co-Op. Its lighting helps the retailers to display their refrigerated goods more effectively.

“Subject to unforeseen difficulties, the directors consider the group to be in a much better position to take advantage of the many opportunities in the respective markets,” the directors added in the accounts.

The company said that it expects to make a modest profit in the current financial year, and to be profitable thereafter.

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